Terms and Conditions

You are not my client. (I am an inactive lawyer and cannot represent clients.) The general information contained in this blog is not legal advice or an offer to provide legal representation. You should not rely on the information in this blog. Instead, if you need legal advice, you must retain a lawyer. Although I strive to keep the posts up to date, the information contained in this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments.

Any tax matters discussed in this blog cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.

4 thoughts on “Terms and Conditions

  1. My father passed a few years ago, and my mother is still in good health at 78.
    I have 1 brother, and 1 half sister. I’m the one that lives near, and have always taken care of all their needs. They decided to leave the house to me, years ago – Mom had a will drawn up stating this. Problem is, the will excludes the other siblings and makes me the executor, to accomplish that. I won’t lie – I want the house to remodel and live in. There is still $32,000 owed on an equity line of credit, that comes with the house. I fully intend to turn any or all possesions and a handfull of savings bonds, over to my brother & sis, to be as fair as I can, but the exclusion might not go over too well. I’ve started reading about probate, and it sounds like it could be messy, and take a long time. I’ve been told I should try to get mom to put everything in a trust, to avoid probate. Does this sound like a good idea? I don’t know anything about this stuff. What’s your opinion?

    • Mike,

      Your mother is free to give the house to anyone she wants. Whether your siblings agree with your mother’s decision is a political issue, not a legal issue. (This assumes your mother was not under undue influence from you when she signed her will.) The politics will not go away if you use a revocable trust. A trust may be a good idea for avoiding probate-related legal fees, but it does nothing to soften the feelings of your siblings. One approach is for your mother to tell them during her life that the house will go to you. Your siblings cannot then contend that you twisted your mother’s arm to force that result. Your mom will not like the stress of having that discussion, but it will make your life easier in the years to come.


  2. I am a US citizen who has been living in Germany for 31 years. My husband and I are separating and I am moving to Portland in February. All my assets are in German bank accounts, and I was planning to leave them there until needed. Is it better for me to transfer most of my money to US accounts before the end of the year? I have only just heard about FATCA and don’t know how it will affect me. Does it mean that I just have to report these accounts, or do I now have to pay extra tax on money in foreign accounts? We have been filing our US taxes jointly every year, but starting next year I will be filing separately and I am not sure what will be best for me.

    • Linda,

      Welcome back to the US!

      There is no US tax savings if you move your accounts from Germany to the US, but there is a substantial CPA fee savings. If you have “offshore” accounts, you must file Forms FinCEN 114 and 8938 each year, which are a time-consuming hassle. There is no tax due with these forms, but there are substantial penalties if you fail to file them. You probably already know this, but all of the income earned on your German accounts must be reported on your US tax returns, since the US taxes its citizens on their worldwide income.


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